SCRANTON — Lenny Zupon would have turned 16 this year.
He would have been able to add driving a car to the list of things he liked to do — from baseball and basketball to cross country running and fishing — and his mom knew the kind of advice she would have given him.
“That would have been my first thing — the caution,” Mary Jane Zupon, of Old Forge said. “I definitely would have told him the one thing you don’t do is drink and drive. That would have been a talk for sure.”
Mary Jane Zupon never got the chance to give her only child a lecture on responsible driving, because a drunk driver killed Lenny Zupon on Aug. 31, 2014.
Lenny’s father, Leonard Zupon, died a year later from injuries he sustained in the crash, which took place in Old Forge when father and son went out to get ice cream.
One way Mary Jane Zupon and the community of All Saints Academy (ASA) in Scranton, where Lenny had been a seventh-grader, commemorate his memory is by holding the school’s annual race in his honor.
Proceeds of the Lenny Zupon/ASA 5K Race and Kids Fun Run, set for Sept. 22 at McDade Park in Scranton, will benefit All Saints Academy and a scholarship in Lenny’s name.
“We are hoping to keep his memory alive by having a large community turnout,” race director Jenn Krieger wrote in an email. “We also want to keep the issue of drunk driving in the minds of our friends and neighbors so they are reminded of how their actions can affect not only their life but the lives of many others.”
“He was a very active boy,” Mary Jane Zupon reminisced. “Ever since he was a baby he would be digging in the dirt. He had his dump trucks and he’d say he was ‘digging foundations.’ He put cones up so the mail man wouldn’t drive into craters. He was always smiling and he cared a lot about doing things for others.
“He was an all-around great kid,” she said.
Anyone interested in the 5K race, 5K walk or children’s fun run can sign up at runsignup.com
Registration and packet pickup will begin at 8:15 a.m. Sept. 22 at McDade Park, 1 Bald Mountain Road, Scranton. The fun run ($12) begins at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K walk and run ($22) begin at 10 a.m.
T-shirts are available for the first 200 participants.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT